Los Lunas, Belen and Valencia are top three at District 6-4A wrestling

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Many of the wrestlers at Saturday’s District 6-4A Championships helped their chances of performing well at the state tournament.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Chris Romero, top, battles 113-pound opponent Andrew Salazar of Los Lunas in the finals of Saturday’s District 6-4A Championships at BHS. Los Lunas emerged as the 6-4A team champion for the second time in three seasons, and all three county teams will compete at the state championships on Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

In two days, they’ll get to find out how much the help is worth. The state tourney will be held Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Los Lunas, ranked second behind Piedra Vista in this month’s News-Bulletin coaches poll, won the District 6-4A team title over host and runner-up Belen, 213 points to 181. With five district champions, Los Lunas is hoping to capture its first state-tourney trophy in three years, having placed third in 2010-11.

The state-tourney matches begin at 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday. The finals at set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

The News-Bulletin final wrestling poll can be found on www.news-bulletin.com.

Belen is hoping to capture a trophy for the second consecutive year, having placed second to Piedra Vista last year. PVHS is widely regarded as the favorite to grab its third-consecutive state title, but both Belen and Los Lunas should contend for second and third place — and might have a chance to get the blue trophy themselves.

Valencia, which has improved significantly in the second half of the season, placed third at district at 135 points.

Belen last won state in 2007-08. The Tigers’ last title was in 1997-98.

“Two years out of three isn’t bad,” said Los Lunas coach Steve Chavez regarding the Tigers winning district. “I’m very happy with the way we competed. At state, Piedra Vista can be beat. Not only does Belen have a lot of horses, but there are also other teams like Aztec, who each have a few really good guys.”

At Saturday’s meet, Los Lunas won district in five weight classes. Ricardo Alvarado (120 pounds), Eddie Canizo (152), Mark Hussey (182), Isaac Parra (195) and Charles Truesdell (220) will all go into Thursday’s state seeding meeting as 6-4A’s top wrestler in their weight classes.

Chavez seemed particularly pleased with Parra. The senior, a 2010-11 state champion, pinned Belen’s David Martinez in the 195-pound finals.

The coach also praised senior Eddie Canizo for winning district in his first year as a varsity regular. Ricardo Alvarado, a veteran senior, grabbed his first district crown as well, beating Belen’s Anthony Trujillo in overtime of the 120 final.

Truesdell’s narrow 2-1 win in the 220 final gave the senior his third district title in as many years. Hussey, a freshman, won district for the second time.

Other Tigers to make into state were Roman Cervantes (106 pounds), Andrew Salazar (113), Miguel Alvarado (126), A.J. Sauceda (132), Gabe Alvarado (138), Ty Tenbrink (145) and Tristen Rasp (160).

For Belen, Brandon Montiel (106 pounds), Chris Romero (113), Phillip Gonzales (126), Matthew Lucero (132), Wyatt Robinson (145) and Danny Chavez (160) all won 6-4A titles. The Eagles qualified a wrestler for state in 11 classes.

“We really helped ourselves,” said BHS coach Lee Chaves, whose team is ranked third in the News-Bulletin poll. “I was concerned about a few weight classes, but we look even better after district than we did before.”

Chaves said the highlight of district, for BHS, was Chavez beating Mikey Martinez of LLHS in the 160 final. Chavez had to rally from a deficit more than once in his 8-5 win, and held Martinez scoreless in the third period.

David Martinez upset state-placer Daniel Sedillos of Grants in an exciting 195-pound overtime semifinal. Martinez and BHS teammates Trujillo, Gunner Robinson (135) and Kaiden Waldram (152) all qualified for state.

Phillip Gonzales and Wyatt Robinson will be attempting to become Belen’s first three-time state champions this weekend.

Valencia got district championships from Carlos Montaño, at 138 pounds, and Ramon Fuentes, at 170. They’ll be joined at state by fellow Jaguars Jondiego Archuleta (106 pounds), Jacob Pino (113), Joseph Barela (126), Luis Soto (145), Nate Nash (152), Jacob Baca (160) and Nathan Jolley (285).

Jolley suffered a disappointing pin in the 285 final. Montaño, a senior, won state at 132 pounds last year; he hopes to win it again, and possibly help the Jaguars place among the top eight teams at state.

Chaves does not agree with Chavez, the Los Lunas coach, on whether Piedra Vista can be overtaken.

“PV has one of the top teams I’ve seen in years,” said Chaves. “They have incredible depth. I think it’s going to come down to us and Los Lunas for second and third.”


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.